A MAN has been handed a suspended prison sentence after he was caught driving whilst disqualified – for the eighth time.
Christopher Cooke was jailed for three months, suspended for one year, after admitting his disregard for court orders yet again.
The 28-year-old was banned from the roads and told to sit an extended driving test in 2005 but continued to drive despite doing this, Sunderland magistrates heard.
And now he has been caught in the act again after he borrowed a pal’s motorbike on April 16.
Prosecutor Lee Poppett said officers on mobile patrol on Cherry Blossom Way in Washington received a tip-off about a disqualified driver.
They then watched as Cooke, of Leechmere Road, Sunderland, drove out of the car park of his work.
He was stopped on Washington Road and immediately told police he had no driving licence or insurance.
“His antecedents show he has previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified and has been disqualified until an extended driving test is passed,” Mr Poppett added. “This is his eighth offence.”
Robin Ford, defending, said that the original driving ban has now ended so he could have applied for a licence and sat a test.
“He was stopped at 9am, having left Unipres,” Mr Ford said. “He didn’t think properly about the implications. I don’t think he understood the implications back in 2005.”
Mr Ford said Cooke has a job offer from McDonald’s, urging the bench not to send him straight to prison.
“Somebody who is working is less likely to offend,” he told the court. “It is something to occupy his mind and he will be able to take driving lessons and pass his test with the money he’s earning in McDonald’s.
“Mr Cooke is a young man who makes mistakes. My dad used to say engage brain before opening your mouth. In Chris’s case it’s engage brain, think before you act. Simple as that.”
Cooke will also be subject to supervision and take part in a thinking skills course for 19 weeks and pay an £80 surcharge. He was also given six points which will go on his driving licence if he applies for one.